We're moving...

Rob Ashby

Rob Ashby

The Spanish Obsessive

After 10 years in London, we decided the time had finally come to move… To Colombia!

Follow our Colombian journey on YouTube!

I know, I know… To many people, this sounds bonkers. Generally speaking, people move to London, not away from it! And especially not to Colombia!

After all, London is where the opportunities are. The best and the brightest come from far away to make their fortunes and build their lives there.

The thing is, that was never me. I worked a number of (quite) well-paid jobs during my time in London, and learned a ton. I met friends and colleagues, and grew in my career.

But deep down, the corporate world never sat right with me. Before moving to London, I’d lived in Spain for years, and travelled for a few months around South America. Working a desk job was a struggle early on, but it stayed a struggle throughout my London career. I was just never cut out for it. I used to feel physically sick walking between the office buildings where I used to work, knowing I was dedicating all of my time to something that, while I didn’t hate it, just wasn’t what I’d always wanted.

We also just weren’t very happy in London. The constant grey weather, the cold, and the frenetic pace of life was grinding us down. We had long, expensive commutes to get to our jobs, which drained us of our energy. We’d get to the weekend and use the time to recover for the next week. Unlike others, we could never really embrace the grind, and found ourselves burning out.

Really, I wanted to be able to continue to travel, explore, and learn, as I had done years ago. I know I wasn’t the only one who dreamed of that, but I knew Spanish Obsessed was a way to achieve those dreams, while also sharing them with others.

We started Spanish Obsessed over 8 years ago. What started as (and still is!) a podcast grew into a website, and then grew into a business. A couple of years ago, Lis and I realised that we had grown the business enough to make it our full time living. And what’s more, there was so much more we could do and grow!

We’d always loved Colombia. Lis was born and raised in Bogotá, but even before meeting her I’d explored Colombia, and felt some deep, unexplainable connection to it.

Mention Colombia to most people in England and they think of cocaine, kingpins, and cartels. Maybe some people think of Shakira. But generally, it’s one of the most misunderstood countries in the world.

It’s also one of the most incredible countries in the world. It boasts the Caribbean and Pacific coasts, part of the Amazon jungle, and the world’s backbone, the Andes, runs through it. You’ll find tropical beaches, deserts, jungle, grasslands, and some of the most incredible landscapes on earth. It’s classed as one of the world’s ‘mega-diverse’ countries, hosting 10% of the world’s biodiversity. If you’re into birds, Colombia has more species than any other country.

The people are also the friendliest in the world, who’ll go to the ends of the earth to be able to say “yes”. I often contrast this with people in England, who tend to go to the ends of the earth to be able to say “no”!

Yes, Colombia has its problems. It’s still a work in progress, and everyone there will admit there’s still a lot to do to improve crime, poverty, corruption, pollution, and other issues.

But despite all that, we wanted to move there. We felt confident we could not only grow Spanish Obsessed in Colombia, but take it further than we ever could in London. We’d reignite our sense of adventure, and escape the perma-drizzle of London.

So, follow us as we start our new life! I’ll keep you updated with the good and the bad, and share our story as we explore this wonderful land.

Next stop: Bogotá!

 

Any questions, thoughts, comments? Let us know in the comment section below.

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50 Responses

  1. Huge congratulations Rob and Lis! I am very excited for you. I look forward to following your adventures and continuing to learn from you. You have built a wonderful community with Spanish Obsessed and you deserve every success.

  2. I congratulate you both for embarking on this new and exciting adventure. My husband and I spent three years in Bogotá ten years ago and it was a life enhancing, challenging, glorious and hugely rewarding experience. We wish the same for you. My Spanish is slipping somewhat since our return, and I do intend to engage a lot more in what you offer at Spanish Obsessed and maybe you moving there will galvanise me into participating again. With every good wish,

  3. My wife Helene and I have visited Bogotá and Calí 3 times. We have also visited other cities, including Santa Marta, Cartageña, Medellin, isla San Andrés, etc.
    We certainly agree with your description of Colombia.
    Our home is in Calgary Alberta Canadá

  4. How brave and exciting. I have been learning Spanish with a wonderful teacher from Bogotá, but have been dipping into your occasional videos, and I have to say, I think your method is wonderful. You are both so relaxed and lovely – and come up with really useful ideas. I wish you all the very best in your new adventure.

  5. Felicitaciones Rob y Lis! Estoy emocionada para ustedes! Spanish Obsessed is the best and I look forward to más clases en el futuro!

  6. It will be interesting to see how Spanish Obsessed will change with a Latin American environment, of people, of media, for your Spanish.

    Good luck!

  7. Hi Rob and Lis. I’m very happy that you’re both following your hearts and your dreams!! I think it’s the right thing to do. I have been following your course for over 5 years now and learned a huge amount and have enjoyed hearing about the world from your perspectives. My husband and I are also moving to a Spanish country, leaving Vancouver Island in Canada behind. We are 65 but we have grandchildren and a daughter and her husband’s family living in San Juan Alicante. So your audios have really helped me learn Spanish and I really appreciate all the time and effort you both do in helping people understand how the language works. Best of luck to you both and Cheers!!!

  8. Congratulations Rob & Lis!! Sounds like you have a lot of wonderful things in store for you in the future. I have been participating in Spanish Obsessed for a few months now and I have to say that you two are fantastic!!! I love listening to your intercambios — they are so natural and fun. I’m a mid-level Spanish speaker and my husband is from Colombia. I love surprising him with new Colombian phrases that I learn and look forward to being able to do this even more after your move. Can’t wait to hear more about your move and your new adventures!!
    Gracias por todo!!!

  9. It sounds exciting ! Wishing you and Lis lots of joy and adventure in Colombia. Looking forward to hearing from you. Keep up the good work !

  10. Hey good luck, I think you are doing the right thing … I felt the same way. I held many CIO and CTO positions in very large corporations in Canada. But finally 15 years ago I decided to start a fresh in Mexico. There is such a sense of tranquility and peace being away from the big city and the corporate world. Life is an adventure.

  11. I am retiring after MANY years of teaching High School and Community College Spanish. It seemed like a viable career choice after deciding (never mind THAT story!) to not finish my dissertation in Spanish literature (Peninsular). I have found a lot of pleasure in teaching and worked with wonderful colleagues and students.
    But the U.S. education system has changed greatly over the past decades, evolving steadily into a system in which I feel, at best, like a resident alien. I finished college in the U.S. nd did most of my graduate work here as well, but the greater part of my education was in Spain. (As a child I lived in Bolivia and have been back to that country, Peru, Ecuador, Venezuela and Colombia, and I have also travelled in Central America, Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic. But Spain is “home.” I’m battling some fierce resistance, but we shall see… Your exciting decision makes my heart glad for you. Best wishes, safe travels, joyful discoveries and MANY THANKS. Cost Rica says it best: PURA VIDA, pareja!

  12. !You both have peaked my interest in Columbia and it is now high on my list of destinations I must experience, so thank you for that. You travel with me always as I drive my sales territory in Central California and I’m always grateful for your company!

    Felisitaciones y muy buenas suerte

  13. Wow! Esa es una excelente decisión, los felicito por seguir sus sueños y luchar contra la corriente para lograr alcanzarlos. No importa lo que los demás digamos sobre sus planes, lo importante es lo que los haga felices a ustedes.
    Muy brillante la manera como están buscando sus éxitos, se dice que “has lo que te apasiona y el éxito te seguirá”. Eso es lo que ustedes están haciendo, mi más sincero respeto y admiración. Se que seguirán triunfando en todo lo que se propongan. Reciban un fuerte abrazo.

  14. Hola mis profesoras,
    Good to hear of your relocation move. I wish you best of luck. You are really making great impacts on people’s lives. Please continue to do so. I love you guys.

  15. Go for it, guys! I’ve also made a leap into the unknown, leaving London for the island of Mallorca (which is of course the reason why I have found your podcast). I wish you the best of luck with this tremendous lifestyle change (for the better!) and a great adventure together.

  16. The very best of luck to you both. My son and his Colombian wife live in South London and I know the hardest thing for her apart from missing her family is the long dark winter here. So I understand your need for a change. I will follow your story with interest while secretly hoping my son doesn’t actually want to do the same! 😌

  17. Felicitaciones! Wunderbar! Quelle bonne idée. Good for you. Wishing you all the very best in the next stage of your adventure. I agree with many of the earlier comments – your classes are excellent (my Spanish teacher who is Mexican but lives in Ontario Canada, recommended your website), Colombia is a wonderful country, we all have so much to learn. Keep the inspiration sharing. Very best to you both!

  18. We loved, well mostly, Bogotá. Is that your destination or a landing spot?
    Good luck – and enjoy the place. There is plenty to enjoy!

  19. Good luck , guys!!
    I can imagine you look forward to Columbia… esspecially the temperature and the culture and for Lis ofcourse: her roots and family and friends. But it is a lot of change and like you said: it’s hard to sugarcoat some things on the bad side.
    We have never spoken and neither have I ever sent you some response on your spanish teachings… nevertheless I experience you as dear friends, and even more, now you are sharing this personal, but big information about your lives.
    Wishing you all the best!
    Regards, Hans

  20. Experts say you typically only regret those decision which you didn’t take, not the ones that might not have worked out perfectly – so you’re doing the exact right thing. All the best of luck to you
    Arnd

  21. Congrats! What an incredible voyage you’ve already been on. Excited to see how it continues. Thanks for keeping on!

  22. Bienvenidos a Colombia! Welcome to Colombia (from expat to expat) Some of our best friends here in El Cafetero are a family who returned from London! We have lived here for about 10 years and Colombia is home! My wife and I wish you a safe journey.

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